White foreigners looting Zim gemstones, says mining official

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By Business Reporter

FOREIGNERS from countries outside Africa are looting Zimbabwe’s gemstones and smuggling them through Zambia, a mines sector official has said.

Briefing guests at a Zimbabwe Miners Federation meeting Tuesday, Kawara said government was only paying its attention on gold issues at a time a lot of precious stones were being spirited away under its nose.

He urged authorities to view mining issues from a broader perspective or risk losing revenue running into millions due to thefts that go unnoticed.

“We are coming from Kariba which is a mining district endowed with several precious minerals, gemstones, in particular and the Mines Ministry has never taken the issue of gemstones very seriously and I wonder why?

“Most of the people who are jetting into the country being of white colour of course come to the area where we mine, hire young men who know the area quite well and pay them 50 dollars.

“They then go to dig these gemstones for them and when they are leaving, they (foreigners) do not use the Harare route, they go through Zambia because the laws of that country are a bit relaxed which makes it easier for them to smuggle the minerals and yet government is not looking at all these minerals as it is just concentrating on Gold,” he said.

Kawara implored government to realise that there was need to collect every cent from all the minerals, adding that in gemstones there are a lot of minerals which are more valuable more than diamonds.

He urged government to avail funding for the gemstones sector in order to derive full benefits from the minerals than to let them be taken away without any benefit.